Though I spend most of my time fiddling around with a variety of cruising sailboats, for the pure joy of trimming in a sail and scooting across the water, I’ll take a little boat any day. They keep you focused, your thoughts in the moment. With no lumps of lead hanging in the water, weight and balance can’t be afterthoughts. Without an engine, every approach to a dock or beach can be an adventure. In a low-slung dinghy, you soon learn that under way, you keep one hand on the tiller and one on the mainsheet, or you’re bound to get wet. In a small boat in any sort of breeze—except, perhaps, on a Laser or some other sled designed to crash and burn—safety is always a top-of-mind concern as you crouch and duck to avoid the boom with every tack and jibe. Drift off for a minute and the rush of water over the gunwale will bring you back in a hurry.